Pricing: Free to $80 for personal/self-employed (with assist & review service); free to $200 for full service (self-employed) expert preparation.
TurboTax is arguably one of the leading names in tax software, but it may not be the choice for filers seeking the cheapest possible option. However for more complex returns — say, if you’re self-employed or a business owner — then the slightly higher price tag is worth it.
The standard edition of TurboTax is ideal for personal returns for individuals, families and students, and allows you to import your tax data from the previous year.
Also included is on-demand customer service via one-way video and the ability to use TurboTax’s mobile app to process your return.
The premier service is what you need if you have income from investments in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, or from rental properties or capital gains.
TurboTax’s self-employed option includes an interview to determine your income and expenses. So if you’re a freelancer or independent contractor, this is the choice for you.
And for an additional cost, TurboTax also has full-service options like a licensed expert that will prepare your return for you and file it on your behalf. They’ll provide a full review and also advise you on how to maximize your refund on your return next year.
Pricing: Free for basic option; $20 for Assistance package; $40 for Protection package.
H&R Block is one of the most reputable names in the industry with some 55 years of experience.
As is the case with other brands, H&R Block offers a free option for basic tax returns. This version allows you to download your tax slips, RRSP info and carry-forward amounts from the CRA. It also includes a return optimization feature that automatically maximizes your refund and minimizes your amount owing.
SmartSearch lets you search hundreds of slips and forms to add them to your return as needed.
H&R Block’s Assistance version comes with an extra level of support and assistance when you’re preparing your tax return. Along with their live tech support, SmartReview provides a detailed visual breakdown of how your return was calculated.
The Protection option includes everything from the previous two versions as well as unlimited priority support, which allows you to jump to the front of the line with a dedicated support number just for you.
If you get audited or reassessed, the digital return storage feature means H&R Block will store your return digitally for seven years.
Unlike other services of this kind, H&R Block still gives you the option to go through the process with a tax expert in person at one of their many offices across Canada.
Wealthsimple Tax is a relative newcomer compared to other tax programs. Formerly known as SimpleTax, Wealthsimple Tax offers free tax software with no pricing tiers — you pay what you want.
Wealthsimple Tax guarantees users their maximum refund. It has all the features you need in tax software: NETFILE support, the ability to import your data from last year’s return and auto-fill it with information from the CRA, refund and deduction optimization, an RRSP maximization calculator.
Wealthsimple Tax covers every tax situation, including working from home and collecting CERB.
Similar to those who came before it, Wealthsimple does offer the support of a tax prep expert.
Users can pay what they want for Wealthsimple Tax based on their experience with the product.
Unlike similar tax programs, none of the features — like support for self-employed individuals — are held behind higher-priced tiers. Instead, Wealthsimple allows users to essentially pay what they want based on their experience with the software.
Online vs. download options
Many tax software providers offer both online and downloadable versions of their programs.
The download versions are a little more expensive but can be used for multiple returns. They are only valid for one tax year.
So if there are multiple people in your household filing returns, a downloadable version may be preferable. But if you’re filing a single return, you’ll save money with the online version.
Act now for the best price
One key thing to keep in mind that the prices for most tax software typically rise as the deadline approaches. If you want to save yourself some money and reduce your stress levels this tax season, file early and take advantage of the lower prices.